P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




High Court clears bus service to Nankana Sahib
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 18
The last legal hurdle in the start of the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus was cleared today when the Punjab and Haryana High Court partially lifted the stay imposed by it on the finalisation of the tender process under the Punjab Government’s Golden Rozgar Bus Scheme.

Taking up the application moved by the Punjab Government seeking vacation of the stay granted in the matter, the Bench headed by Mr Justice N.K. Sud allowed the state government to continue with the plan to start the bus service to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan from Amritsar. The Bench said the stay would continue, but it would not be applicable as far as the bus to Nankana Sahib was concerned.

Appearing for the Punjab Government, Advocate General Harbhagwan Singh said the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service was part of the ongoing peace moves between India and Pakistan. Stopping the bus service from going ahead could have international ramifications, he stated.

Mr Harbhagwan Singh also said the route was not covered under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, and hence the status quo ordered by the High Court must not be applicable as far as the start of the bus service was concerned. The Advocate General also stated that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had just returned from a visit to Pakistan as part of a trade delegation. The bus service also formed part of the issues discussed, he added.

Mr Harbhagwan Singh also stated that the Punjab Government had planned to initially induct 10 super deluxe buses for the service, which was awaiting the final go-ahead of the Union External Affairs Ministry.

It may be recalled that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had sometime back stayed the implementation of the final decision of the tender process of the government regarding the scheme.

Following a bunch of writs challenging the legality of the scheme, which the transporters alleged was totally contrary to the clauses of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, as also the law laid down by the Supreme Court, the High Court had ordered that the tender process could be completed but the decision arrived at could not be given effect to.

The transporters had also prayed for the quashing of the tender notice published on February 8, inviting tenders for the scheme.


Deluge of visitors from Pak
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
By all counts, it is virtually a deluge of visitors from across the border to India. As many as 1.20 lakh persons from Pakistan have visited India in the past few months. This number has been officially confirmed by the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, Mr Shiv Shanker Menon, a soft talking pleasant person.

In a brief talk with The Tribune at a dinner hosted by former Prime Minister and currently President of the Pakistan Muslim League, Shujat Hussain, Mr Shanker said that in the past two months alone about 20,000 Pakistanis had been given visa to visit India. This figure includes the 4,000-odd cricket fans who landed at Mohali and Chandigarh last week to watch the Test match.

Asked how the staff was coping with such a burden, Mr Menon said the staff had been fully motivated to handle the jobs assigned to them. “They do it happily,” Mr Menon asserted. There are about 80 employees posted in the Indian diplomatic mission at Islamabad. There was need for more staff. “ We have requested the authorities concerned in India that at least 30 persons more are required to handle the existing workload,” said Mr Menon.

Being an inside player to the goings-on for the past two years between the two countries, would he pen his memoirs? “I have no such intentions,” he said, and added that “I would like others such as journalists to describe current events.” With these words, he turned to other guests.

Many important persons such as the Information Minister and spokesman of the Pakistan Government, Mr Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, and the Foreign Minister, Mr Khursheed Mahmood Kasuri, were present at the dinner hosted at the imposing building of Punjab House.


Pak Punjab Governor avid reader of The Tribune
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The Pakistan Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen, Khalid Maqbool Khan (retd), is an avid reader of The Tribune. He made this disclosure when the Indian delegation led by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh called on him yesterday.

Talking to Indian media persons, immediately after the lunch hosted by him to the Indian delegation, he said he was an unflinching reader of The Tribune. "I get a hard copy of The Tribune daily", he added. The Tribune's copy is available the next day, he claimed.

In fact, he took pleasure in talking about the news reports appearing in The Tribune about Capt Amarinder Singh's visit to Lahore, Islamabad and other places. Capt Amarinder Singh, who was sitting along next to Mr Khan, said "Governor Sahib has told me about the news items appearing in The Tribune about our visit to Pakistan". For me it was a pleasant surprise, said Capt Amarinder Singh.

The Governor is a very frank person. He took no time to answer some of the politically ticklish questions asked by Indian media persons. "We have not stopped Nawaz Sharief and Benazir Bhutto from returning to Pakistan", he added.


Trade delegation returns from Pakistan
Hopes for better industrial climate
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 18
For the four young industrialists from Patiala, a trip to Pakistan as part of a trade delegation along with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has been full of hope for their fellow brethren of the city.

“We are not only confident of the border being opened and the effect trickling down to the city but also of a better industrial climate under the present set up”, says Ashwani Garg, who is the President of the Patiala Industries Association (PIA), and was the part of the team which stayed at various places in Pakistan along with the delegation.

Mr Garg while talking to Chandigarh Tribune said Patiala and Mandi Gobindgarh areas would benefit in case the border was opened with Pakistan as there was a great scope for cutting tools, an industry which was dominant in Patiala, and for flourmill rolls and rolling mill plants which was dominant in Mandi Gobindgarh.

The industrialists, including Mr Naresh Gupta, Mr Vikram Goel and Mr Sushil Gupta said besides meeting representatives of business houses in Lahore, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi, they also interacted with the general public. “Everyone is for opening of borders”, Mr Gupta said adding that Pakistan’s Punjab was only producing 30 per cent of its requirement. “While we in Patiala have our special areas of interest, other parts of the state will benefit from sale of food grains, cements and automobile parts”, he added.

The industrialists said they were also in the process of requesting the Chief Minister to declare Patiala as a “Special Economic Zone” on the pattern of a similar status being proposed for Amritsar. The industrialists say such a move would give the necessary fillip to industrial activity in the city which has always lagged behind because it is away from the main railway line.

Besides this they want something more concrete. “The Punjab Government should convince Ashok Leyland, which has evinced interest in setting up a 3,500 crore production plant in Punjab, to set up a shop in Patiala”, says Vikram Goel. The industrialist said the PIA had consistently been demanding creation of an engineering or ancillary hub in Patiala and that in case the Ashok Leyland group comes to Patiala, such a demand would be met.

The industrialists also want a cleaning up act in the local Focal Point also. They said the Focal Point continued to be undeveloped with poor roads and no sewerage facilities mainly because both the Punjab Small Scale Industries Association (PSIEC) and the local Municipal Corporation were not doing anything to develop it. They said the corporation wanted the area to the transferred to it before it could be developed.

However, they are of the view that Patiala industry has a bright future. “We went to Pakistan with a hope of achieving something. We have spread goodwill there and also interacted with people from our fields of interest which will go a long way in laying the foundation of future trade relations”, they added.


Move to link Lahore, Ludhiana fruit markets
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 18
In a move aimed at riding on the goodwill created by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh's visit to Pakistan Punjab, the State Mandi Board has proposed linking the fruit and vegetable markets of Ludhiana and Lahore by giving them the nomenclature of sister market committees.

Disclosing this here today after returning from a visit to Pakistan, Mandi Board chairman Sant Ram Singla said a proposal to this effect had been moved by the Pakistan Agricultural Department authorities. He said the Mandi Board would initiate a case for closer cooperation between the market committees of both Punjabs.

Mr Singla said the Mandi Board would also exchange expertise on grading and packing of fruits and vegetables with its counterpart, besides extending cooperation towards creating a cold chain to ensure effective transportation of goods.

The Mandi Board chairman said the Pakistan Punjab Government was in the process of setting up an agricultural marketing board on the Punjab pattern.


Pakistan Gandhian regrets Partition
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, March 18
Aman Nul Mulak (99), a cotemporary of Mahatma Gandhi who resembles Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan (called Sarhadi Gandhi or Badshah Khan in Pakistan) and crossed over to India through the Wagah joint check-post here today along with 91 followers of Gandhi to participate in the ‘Dandi March’, regretted Partition of the country.

Talking to TNS, he said Peshawar had more followers of Mahatma Gandhi than India. Condemning Mohammad Ali Jinnah, father of Pakistan, he said Partition was the most unfortunate incident of the previous millennium.


Opposition boycotts Governor’s Address
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
While blaming the ruling Congress Party for the brutal murder of democracy, breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state and unprecedented corruption emanating from the Chief Minister’s Office, both the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) boycotted the Governor’s Address on the opening day of the Budget session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha here today.

The Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, in his 52-page address not only talked about cleansing public life, eradicating corruption, protection of State’s riparian rights, diversification in agriculture, growing emphasis on industrialisation and infrastructure development, but also in improving delivery of both education and healthcare services.

Earlier the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, administered oath to Mr Harpartap Singh, who has been elected from Ajnala constituency.

Sporting black robes with slogans painted on them, the SAD legislators held a brief dharna before the start of the session. They were back in the house when it re-assembled after the Governor’s Address for obituary references. Rich tributes were paid to former Prime Minister , Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao, former legislators - Ch Matu Ram, Mr Surjit Singh Sidhu, Mr Ajit Singh and Mr Ujagar Singh Rangretta - freedom fighter Raj Singh Kapur, Olympian Balkrishan Singh, academician Gursewak Singh, poet Deepak Jatoi, preacher Sant Singh Maskeen and victims of the tsunami disaster in coastal areas of South Asia.

In paying tributes the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was joined by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Tikshan Sood of the BJP and Mr Sucha Singh Chhotepur.

In his address, the Governor said that efforts would continue to protect the State’s riparian rights and ensure that these are decided in a fair and transparent manner.

The government, he decided, has focussed its attention on attracting investment to the State. Twentyseven mega projects with a total investment of Rs 10,000 crore had been approved of which 15 were already under various stages of implementation.

“A significant achievement has been the recent decision of the Government of India to revive Guru Gobind Singh refinery in Bathinda which will be established at a total outlay of Rs 9806 crore,” he said.

Talking about agriculture, the Governor said that the Genetic Engineering Committee of the Union Government had approved six varieties of Bt Cotton for commercial cultivation.. To ensure allround development, power generation needs to be augmented. Lehra Mohabbat -II, Shahpur Kandi, Mukerian-II and the UBDC-III were some of the projects on which work has been initiated.

Meanwhile, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in a statement, said an extremely grave and explosive political, economic and social crises was facing the people of Punjab ” and held Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh responsible for pushing the state into the jaws of a major catastrophe.


India self-reliant in missile technology: ASL chief
Tribune News Service

Bhaddal (Ropar), March 18
“The process to upgrade ‘Agni’ missile will continue and scientists have been entrusted with the responsibility to improve its range and capability. We are self-reliant in missile technology and will come up with ‘Agni-III’,” remarked the Programme Director of ‘Agni’ and Director, ASL, Hyderabad, Dr R.N. Aggarwal, here today.

He was here to inaugurate the “National Conference on Composite Material (NCCM-2005)” organised jointly by Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, and the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal.

Without naming any country, he said a neighbouring country, which claimed to have developed missile technology, was importing technology from China and Korea to develop missiles.

“It’s important for the security of the country to improve technology. We will continue to work towards providing the country with best security system in the form of missile technology,” said Dr Aggarwal.

Earlier delivering a talk on composite materials, he said the use of composites in defence, especially in missiles and aerospace system, had grown at a steady pace during the past two decades. India had the distinction of using carbon composite re-entry vehicle structure for “Agni” missile, he added.

Giving details about missile technology, he said the indigenously designed and built aircraft system like the LCA and Hansa had 45 to 85 per cent of their airframes as composites. Composite airframes, rocket motor casings, radome and ablative liners enabled Indian missiles to achieve improved range, increased payload capabilities and lethality.


Gujral not invited for science city inaugural
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, March 18
While Pushpa Gujral Science City, near here, is heading for opening tomorrow by the Punjab Governor and Chief Minister, but what is ironical is that the Punjab Government has failed to invite former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who had not only envisaged the project, but also laid its foundation stone in 1997 as the Prime Minister of the country.

A section of the Congress had allegedly portrayed the project as nothing but a “white elephant” during the last Parliamentary poll, but the function for formal opening of the project will be presided over by the Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

Since the visit of the President to Punjab, scheduled for tomorrow, was cancelled, the science city will be opened for public by the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd.).


Match food produce with distribution, says Borlaug
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
A Nobel Laureate, Dr Norman E. Borlaug, today emphasised the need for matching adequate food production with equitable distribution among the people. Delivering a lecture, “From Green Revolution to the Gene Revolution: a 21st Century Challenge”, Dr Borlaug specifically mentioned India, saying, “Although you have solved the problem of production, but there needs to be equitable distribution of food among all sections of people.”

There was pin-drop silence in the jam-packed Pal Auditorium of the College of Agriculture at Punjab Agricultural University here today as the Nobel Laureate, who turns 92 on March 25, stood to speak. He spoke for seventy minutes, holding the audience spellbound and illustrating everything with the help of slides. He was acknowledged with a standing ovation by the staff and students at the end of the lecture.

Appreciating the outstanding contribution made by scientists of PAU, he said India had made phenomenal progress as far as food production was concerned. He said, “You have sufficient food reserves, but these need to be distributed among the people who need it.” He observed that although India had eradicated starvation, a considerable number of people were still malnourished.

He suggested several measures for making food available to the economically weaker sections of society. He said “food for work” could be a way out. He maintained that all countries, even the USA, faced a similar problem at one stage or the other. He disclosed that in 1930 during the great depression people were hungry in the USA also and they did not have any money to buy food. Various schemes like food for work were launched there and the problem was overcome. He expressed optimism that the problem would be solved here as well.

Dr Borlaug disclosed that the problem of hunger was a worldwide phenomenon, but it was more predominant in South Asia. Of the 800 million hungry people in the world, about half of them were in Asia and one-fourth in the South Asia alone.


‘Punjab a symbol of development’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 18
The 37th session of the three-day Punjab History Conference on “Punjab through the ages”, organised by the Department of Punjab Historical Studies, started here today. Renowned historian Prof P.L. Mehra was the chief guest and Mr Surjit Hans, former Professor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, presided over the conference.

Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai while welcoming the guests said Punjabis comprised the biggest and vital element of the Indian culture. Mr Boparai, while talking about the historical facts about the people of Punjab and their contribution in the National Movement, stressed that Punjabis had made supreme contributions in the freedom struggle but they have not been suitably rewarded . “Even then Punjabis go on proving that they are the best,’’ the Vice-Chancellor added.

In his thought-provoking inaugural address, Dr P.L. Mehra appreciated the enthusiastic approach of the people of Punjab. He said Punjab has always been on the move and is a symbol of development. Talking about the geographical history of Punjab, he said in the ancient times Punjab was connected to Central Asia and with the pace of time it has come to this shape. While talking about the advent of militarism in the Punjabis, he said from the time immemorial Punjab has been named as “sword of India” and “loyalist’’. He said these terms had paid rich dividends to Punjab in the shape of infrastructural development even during colonial rule.

Prof Surjit Hans, general president of the conference, in his keynote address dwelt at length about the vital composition of Sikh religion as a reaction of Islamic rise. This reaction had two elements: one deals with the traditional transcendental world and the other relates to the prevailing Islamic rule. He also gave details about the comparative ideology of Hinduism and Sikhism in the context of Manu Samriti.

While introducing the theme of the conference Dr Sukhdyal Singh, Director of the conference, said the research on Punjab history should be benefited tremendously if scholars of both Punjabs (India and Pakistan) combined their efforts to bring forth a comprehensive history. According to Dr Sukhdyal Singh West Punjab has created the history of the entire northern region of the subcontinent.

Dr Arun Kesarwani, chairman, ancient section, said history of Punjab starts at least 4,000 years earlier than Harappan Civilisation because Mehrgarh site throws enough evidence about the Neolithic culture. In the medieval section, Prof Iqtidar Hussain Siddiqui said political and social institutions of Sultanate period served as great factors for social change. Prof Bhagwan Josh, president, modern section, brought out how nationalism and colonial loyalsim had defined the intellectual horizon of the nineteenth and twentieth century social and political movements. Dr. G.S. Nayyar presided over the Punjabi section.

Dr Parambakshish Singh Registrar while proposing a vote of thanks said the traditions set by doyens of history, Dr Ganda Singh, and Dr Fauja Singh will be carried on in the future too.


Stage set for auction of liquor vends tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
Deviating from the past practice of holding yearly auction of vends of country liquor and India-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) at the district or divisional headquarters, running over a period of a week or 10 days, the Excise and Taxation Department is all set to complete the task on a single day on March 20, and that too at just one place — Ludhiana.

The Excise and Taxation Department has already issued a circular for holding the auction of vends of Punjab medium liquor (country liquor) and IMFL at Rotary Bhavan here on Sunday.

Since liquor contractors from the entire state would descend on the venue, carrying a huge amount of cash with them, a tight security arrangement was being made around Rotary Bhavan with barricades being set up on all roads.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, along with other senior officers of the police and the Excise and Taxation Department today visited the spot to oversee the security arrangements.

The Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Manmohan Singh, told The Tribune that entry to the auction hall would be restricted and all individuals would have to obtain an entry slip on payment of Rs 500.


Bibi welcomes release of Malik, Bagri
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 18
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today welcomed the release of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri by a Canadian court in the Kanishka jet blast case.

In a press release issued here, Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, said that the decision proved that both were innocent and were framed in a false case in which 329 passengers were killed.

She alleged that some anti-Sikh powers and agencies were trying to defame the Sikh community.


Housing project for soldiers launched
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 18
The Army authorities laid the foundation stone for the construction of 1,570 dwelling units for its married personnel at a cost of Rs 114 crore in the cantonment here under the ongoing Married Accommodation Project (MAP).

The foundation stone of the first phase of the MAP was laid by Lt-Gen P.K. Singh, General Officer Commanding, Vajra Crops, at the cantonment here today.


Restaurant damaged in fire
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 18
A fire broke out in a restaurant situated at Adarsh Nagar Chowk here today. According to the police, though no loss of life was reported, the restaurant was damaged in the fire. Three fire engines of the Municipal Corporation were pressed into service to extinguish the flames.


CBI opposes bail plea to ex-Addl DC of Ferozepore
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 18
The CBI has opposed the plea for an anticipatory bail filed by Ram Gopal Sahota of Panchkula, the main accused in a case relating to the issuance of fake arms licences. Sahota is a former Additional Deputy Commissioner of Ferozepore.

The CBI had registered an FIR on April 8, 2002, following an order passed by the High Court on February 5, 2002. Sahota is accused of having issued thousands of arms licences in violation of the procedure and by accepting illegal gratification. He allegedly charged Rs 500-1,200 from each person to whom he gave a licence.

As per the affidavit submitted by the CBI, the accused issued as many as 27,188 arms licences between September 1998 and February 2001. The licences were allegedly issued by him on the basis of false/fabricated documents.

The investigating agency has also alleged that Sahota has not been cooperating with it during investigation and has been evasive in his replies.

Today, the Bench of Mr Justice Virender Singh was to hear the matter referred it to another Bench.

Notice issued

Mr Justice Virender Singh of the High Court has issued a notice of motion to the state of Punjab for March 28 on a bail application filed by Tarana Dal chief Ajit Singh Poohla in a murder case.


Student kidnapped, traced
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 18
The kidnapping of a schoolstudent and an attempted kidnapping of a schoolteacher, besides recovery of a single-barrel 12-bore gun along with 19 cartridges were reported in the past 48 hours in the district.

In another incident, a woman, Gurmeet Kaur, executed a fake kidnapping of her son to falsely implicate a man in a criminal case.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said Mr Davinder Singh, a schoolteacher posted at Burj Mehma village in the district, yesterday lodged a complaint that when he was on his way back from the school on a motor cycle, some persons, who came in a car, tried to kidnap him. But he managed to escape.

The SSP said two persons, Ranjit Singh Bittu and Gurpreet Singh, had been arrested while a case under Sections 120-B, 362 and 511 of the IPC registered against six others, Harbans Singh, Gurtej Singh, Shanti, Lalli, Bittu and Preeta at Nahinawala police station in this connection.

In another case, the SSP said, a schoolstudent, Rohit, was kidnapped by four persons, Dikshant, Sonu and two others, who came in a car, last evening.

The police managed to recover Rohit and the car used in the crime but the accused were still at large.

In another case, Gurmeet Kaur, a local resident, lodged a complaint that her son had been kidnapped by Mr Balwinder Singh. When the police conducted an enquiry into the matter, it was found that she had herself executed the kidnapping to falsely implicate Mr Balwinder Singh as she was having some property dispute with him.

The SSP said Sukhdev Singh resident of Chanar Thal village in the district, was arrested and a single-barrel 12-bore gun, 19 live cartridges and some clothes, which he had stolen from the farmhouse of Mahant Veer Bimal Dass Rana in Geheri Bara Singh village, were recovered from him. He said Sukhdev Singh had earlier stolen an Indica car in 2002 along with his father and brother. A case was registered under the Arms Act at Kot Fatta police station.

A couple was arrested for its alleged involvement in a number of theft cases, at various religious places.

The couple, Kala Singh and Baljit Kaur, resident of Ramanwas village falling under Ballianwali police station, used to steal money from the golaks (cash boxes) placed in religious places. Sometimes they stole the cash boxes itself.

A motor cycle, gas cylinder, harmonium, four microphones, amplifier, cash boxes, stereo system with speakers, bedding etc was also recovered from them.

A case was registered at Nathana police station.


ETO arrested for accepting bribe
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 18
Shashi Bhushan Sharma, Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO), Sales Tax, Kotkapura, was today caught red-handed while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 1.25 lakh in lieu of filing the sale tax return of a Kotkapura-based firm.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Amrik Singh, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, said that a team of the Vigilance Bureau led by Mr Ashutosh Kaushal, DSP, Vigilance, raided the residence of the accused, Shashi Bhushan Sharma, today on the complaint of Mr Suresh Kumar, who was working at Eesh Trading Company, Kotkapura, and seized the bribed amount from one of the almirahs in the house in the presence of the accused.

Mr Amrik Singh added that the accused had been demanding a bribe of Rs 1.5 lakh from Mr Suresh Kumar in lieu of filing the sale tax return of Eesh Trading Company for 2001-02. A deal was struck between the complainant and the accused when the former agreed to give Rs 1.25 lakh as bribe.

He added that the raid was conducted by a team led by Mr Kaushal accompanied by two government witnesses, Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr Jagdev Singh, both SDOs, Water Supply and Sanitation, Bathinda, and trapped the accused.

A case in the connection was registered under Sections 7, 13(2)88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Lottery agent hurt in attack
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 18
Over 10 persons attacked a lottery agent, Rakesh Kumar (36), with swords and other weapons and took away Rs 22,000 in cash, lottery tickets worth Rs 55,000, and two mobile phones from his shop near bus station yesterday afternoon.

Talking to this correspondent from his bed in the trauma ward of the local Civil Hospital, Mr Rakesh Kumar today said around 10 persons came to his shop, Rattan Lottery Agency, with muffled faces. Identifying two of them as Raju Pandit of Khuddi village and Bunty, he said Raju Pandit took him out of the shop on the pretext of talking to him. Other assailants then attacked him with sharp-edged weapons.

The victim said the assailants took away lottery tickets, cash and two mobile phones. He said they also damaged his computer lying in the shop.

According to reports, the police has registered a case.

Mr Rakesh Kumar said Bunty, a drug addict, had pelted his shop with brickbats a week ago and that he had lodged a complaint with the police in this regard, but to no avail. In another incident, some burglars broke into a house, just a stone’s throw from the DSP (Detective) residence, here today.

Breaking open the cupboard and cash box, the burglars took away gold ornaments, wrist watches, cash and garments.


Encourage students to opt for science, say scientists
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 18
Scientists who gathered here on the concluding day of the four-day International Symposium on Nuclear and Radiochemistry were of the view that despite India being one of the few countries in the world that had mastered all aspects of nuclear power production starting from mining of uranium, design and operation of nuclear power plants, recovery of protonium from the used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste management but regretted that the youth were not motivated to take up research work in this field.

The scientists opined the students need to be encouraged to take science subject. They said popularity of this subject could be promoted by organising symposia and workshop at the school level. They also recommended that the momentum of research should be maintained and enhanced to ensure that maximum benefits could be reaped by India in advance technology.

Dr Gregory R. Choppin of the USA presided over the valedictory session and gave away the awards and certificates to the participants. Dr R.K. Bedi, Dean, Students Welfare, Dr K.S. Thind, Dr R.K. Mahajan, conveners and other senior scientists recommended that a close collaboration was needed between the educational institutions and atomic research programmers. India was among top ten nations in term of number of nuclear power reactors in the world. India was the only country at present that is setting up a fast breeder reactor, which is under construction at Kalpakam near Chennai.

On the concluding day, Dr R.K. Bedi and Dr K.S. Thind, senior scientists of Guru Nanak Dev University, chaired the technical sessions.

Dr S.K. Aggarwal from BARC in his research paper suggested that more than one technique should be used for precise and accurate determination of nuclear properties like radioactive isotopes.


Conference on bioinformatics
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 18
Experts from across the region attended the conference on Bioinformatics and Computing organised by the faculty of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET), which commenced on its campus here today.

The three-day National level conference is being organised by the Computer Science and Engineering Department of the TIET

The future of bioinformatics was discussed threadbare by the faculty members of the TIET. The conference convener, Mr Deepak Garg, in his keynote address, urged the students and other participants to spread the culture of bioinformatics so that its use could be made in various fields.

Dr P.S Khandekar, Director of the computer science centre, TIET, explained the uses of the science of bioinformatics in simple terms to the participants and urged them to adopt the science.


IETE chapter inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 18
The Institution of Electronics & Telecommunication Engineers (IETE), College chapter, was inaugurated Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Chairman of IETE Chandigarh. Mr P. Prabhakar presided over while executive member, IETE, Mr Ramagopal was the chief guest at the inauguration function of the chapter.

Treasure IETE, Mr G. Singh, was the guests of honour on the occasion.

College Principal Dr D.S. Hira said BBSBEC had unique distinction of having maximum number of college chapter of professional bodies in the college which motivated students from time to time.

Prof Gurmeet Kaur, coordinator of the college chapter said the Centre had recognised IETE as a scientific and industrial research organization and notified it as an educational institute of national excellence. She said the chapter would take care of extra curricular activities of the students.


NSS volunteers donate blood
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 18
The NSS Department of Punjabi University organised a blood donation camp sponsored by the State Bank of Patiala on the campus here today.

A poster exhibition-cum-competition and a quiz competition of AIDS awareness was also conducted.

As many as 145 students donated blood. Mrs Satwant Kaur Boparai, wife of the Vice-Chancellor, presided over the function and distributed prizes to the winners and awarded certificates to the blood donors.

The chief guest also awarded certificates to the winners of poster and quiz competitions.


Online gaming main attraction of Techfair
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 18
The online gaming was the main attraction on the first day of the National Annual Technical Function (Techfair 2005) at Baba Banda Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh, today.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, media adviser of the college, Prof R.S. Uppal, said out of seven competitions of Techfair-2005 the online gaming attracted maximum number of audience apart from large participation.

He said in these games 84 participants from various colleges were divided into groups of nine students each. All nine students sat on the local area network (LAN) and competed in the shooting game. He said that the student who eliminated all others in a particular round was declared winner of the round. Students of AIET, Faridkot, Engineering College, Noida, PCET, Ludhiana, and host BBSBEC College reached the final round, which would be held tomorrow.

Pardeep Bansal, a student of B. Tech (third year) of the university instrumentation centre of Kurukshetra, who was eliminated in the first round, said that the competition was quite tough.

Prof Rajbahadur Singh, in charge of the web designing competition, said that three problems of shopping card, online library and online quiz were given to 38 participants.

The result of the competition would be declared tomorrow, he added.


Protest against VAT at Batala
Tribune Reporters

Batala, March 18
Businessmen of Batala went on fast here yesterday in response to a call given by the All-India-Beopar Mandal against the imposition of the VAT (value added tax).

Members of the mandal sat on fast at the main octroi post at Gandhi Chowk under the leadership of Mr Rishi Dutt Gulati, vice-president, Punjab Beopar Mandal.

Hoshiarpur: Traders staged a dharna and demonstration at Gaushala Bazar here on Thursday to express their resentment against introduction of the VAT from April 1 by the state government. They were demanding withdrawal of the VAT.

Traders of Mukerian and Dasuya in this district also staged a dharna in the tehsil complex and outside the office of the Subdivisional Magistrate to oppose the VAT.

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